midterm elections, known in the United States as midterms, after the presidential election, are the most important political and government thermometers in the North American country. Held right in the middle of the legislature, these elections included a complete renewal of the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate, as well as the election of 36 of the 50 governors of the states that make up the map of America.
For the party that takes over the federal government, midterms They are usually a difficult test in the form of presidential elections: historically, it is the formation that occupies the White House that is defeated in elections, which generates changes in the balance of power in the country.
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This year, moreover, the midterm elections will not only serve as a gauge of acceptance of Joe Biden’s policies in the midst of a global crisis and after the country enters a technical recession. They would also be a perfect setting to test the strength trumpism And more than its possible resurgence: At least a hundred Republican candidates backed by Trump for these elections have defended a conspiracy theory about election fraud in 2020. All this, in an environment in which elections indicate that the party of the former president may win a majority. in the lower house of Congress.
Since 1912, the House of Representatives has been made up of 435 members—except for a short period between 1958 and 1962, in which it had 437—who, with rare exceptions, are divided between the two structures that make up the North American bipartisan. System: Republican Party and Democratic Party.
Each member of the lower house represents one of the congressional districts in the US, which are distributed proportionally by states based on population. That’s why the census every ten years is so important, because it can change the number of representatives sent by each state, as it did in 2020 – six states lost their representatives and five gained them.
To understand the consequences that have led Democrats and Republicans alternately in different organs of power—presidencies, chambers, state governments, etc.—it is essential to know the diversity and dynamics of a map of the United States; their economic, political and social differences; Its history and its changes.
The internal geopolitics of the United States is strongly marked by colonialism and the subsequent conquest of the region. A process that began in the 17th century in the eastern part of the country, where the first European colonies were established and the political, social and economic models that dominated the country, and which ended on the west coast: there it is currently The country’s most prosperous and dynamic region is found in the Sunbelt, which has benefited from the shift of the world economy to the Asia-Pacific and where a large part of the global technology sector is concentrated.
The political spheres of the United States are, in many cases, along its belt, a subdivision of the country that eschews the arbitrary norms with which states were designed to focus on the social and economic dynamics that differentiated were shaping. The way of life of the region and its population.
But just as politics has been affected by the socio-economic realities of these regions, it has also been very sensitive to their changes. This is what happened in the old industrial or steel belt, now known as the rust belt. A working-class sector that generally supported the Democratic Party and which had been in crisis for years due to de-industrialization processes, became the key to Donald Trump’s victory.
All these internal dynamics have produced an electoral map, where each party has several fiefdoms and spheres of influence. The Democratic Party stands out for its great strength throughout the West Coast, while it has a strong presence in New England at the other end of the country and the entire urban area running from Boston to Washington. Republicans, for their part, control the interior and southern regions of the country, the most conservative, where several states have been voting for Republican presidents since 1968.
rigging in the districts or Gerrymandering
Beyond social and economic dynamics, one of the most important elements to understanding North American electoral geography is the manipulation of electoral districts or Gerrymandering, This practice, which exists in other countries but is slowly disappearing due to its undemocratic nature, involves changing or redesigning the boundaries of electoral districts – often in an unnatural way and allowing social and coexistence. Contrary to the realities – voting tendencies to change and favor one or the other side, as both are often used.
It is generally not favored by minorities, who lose representation every time the practice is introduced, with no other aim than to remain in power and end partisan competition. One of the most recent examples is the creation of the TX-22 district in Texas, which reduced the diversity of Fort Bend County, the most multiethnic in the country, after uniting it with others with a much smaller population and diversity.
right to abortion
The midterm elections will also be decisive for one of the most important issues on the American political agenda in recent months: abortion. The Supreme Court’s decision to quash the case in Roe v. Wade, which recognized abortion as a right protected by the Constitution in 1973, returned the power to state governments to prohibit or protect voluntary interruption of pregnancy. Is.
As already mentioned, 36 out of 50 states will elect a governor in these elections, which could mean new changes to the map of access to abortion in the United States. In fact, until this ruling was reversed, the vast majority of women in the country lived less than 300 km from a pregnancy termination clinic, but the Supreme Court’s decision immediately struck a chord with Missouri, Louisiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas. , activated prohibitory laws in Utah or the South. Dakota, which could be expanded if Republicans manage to seize power in other regions.